The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor will be part exhibition, part auction, part philanthropy project, a fitting tribute to the star herself.
Christie's, with the help of Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art at the Pacific Design Center, will be presenting an exhibition of Taylor's legendary jewels, wardrobe, and iconography from Oct. 13-16. The event will be part of an international tour, traveling through Dubai, Geneva, Paris and Hong Kong before ending with an auction in New York from Dec. 13-16.
Taylor, 79, died of congestive heart failure in Los Angeles in March. Elizabeth Taylor is one of our great cultural icons, said MOCA director Jeffrey Dietch. She is a part of our history and should be celebrated.
The items with the highest price tags, and those attracting the most attention, are the Taylor jewels. It would be glamorous, Andy Warhol once said, to be reincarnated as a great big ring on Liz Taylor's finger. Indeed, the iconic actress owned hundreds of rubies, sapphires, pearls, and emeralds, with 269 precious stones up for auction.
Perhaps her most famous gems, however, are her diamonds, many of them given to Taylor during her stormy on-again, off-again love affair with actor Richard Burton. These include the famous Taylor-Burton Ring, a 33.19 carat white diamond treasure estimated at $2.5-3.5 million, and the emerald and diamond necklace, pendant, ring, and bracelet he gave her on the set of Cleopatra.
The diamond tiara film producer husband Mike Todd gave her in 1957 is additionally valued at $60,000-80,000. A diamond wristwatch from close friend Michael Jackson is expected to fetch up to $300,000-500,000.
In total, the jewelry featured looks to clear more than $30 million dollars. It is the single most important and magnificent jewelry collection that's ever come up for sale at auction, said jewelry expert Rahul Kadakia. It has jewels that go back to the 16th century to present day, and every one of these pieces was meticulously collected because Ms. Taylor had such a great eye for jewelry.
Another $20 million could be raised from some of Taylor's iconic gowns and film memorabilia. A portion of the proceeds from exhibitions, events and publications related to the auction will go to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation that was started in 1991.
But what Christie's experts call the Liz factor -- the lore surrounding her glamorous Hollywood lifestyle -- could blow those pre-sale estimates sky high.
Taylor's career spanned seven decades and included films such as National Velvet, in which she starred as a teenager, as well as Giant and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which earned her an Academy Award for best actress.
In her personal life, Taylor's eight marriages, health problems and early advocacy for AIDS patients made her a larger than life figure and the epitome of Hollywood glamour.
The auction was a decision Elizabeth Taylor herself made a few years ago, Porter said. She wanted someone new to enjoy them.
This collection is unlike anything we have offered before. It is a window on Elizabeth Taylor's life, Christie's America Chairman Marc Porter told reporters on Monday ahead of the four-day Los Angeles public exhibit.
This presentation is very special for the community, Deitch told the Huffington Post at a preview of the event. There are so many people who want to understand this side of Elizabeth Taylor.